Today Rakuten Advertising launches A 5-stage Blueprint for High-Performance Affiliate Marketing. The blueprint provides both advertisers and publishers with insights into the strategic value of affiliate marketing throughout the customer journey.


Based on discussions in the first meetings of the Rakuten Advertising International Collective (RAIC), the blueprint features comments from leading advertisers such as Harvey Nichols and Microsoft, and key publishers like ShopBack, Beyond China, RetailMeNot and RewardStyle.

The changing face of high-performance affiliate marketing

It may be too grand a statement to say that affiliate marketing has really come of age over the past year or two, but it certainly seems as though the strategic use of high-performance affiliate marketing models and innovation by publishers has taken a big step forward.

Through mapping out the five stages of the blueprint – from aligning affiliate marketing KPIs to the broader objectives of the business, to analysis and learning – it’s clear that affiliate has genuinely become a central part of a strategic approach to marketing.

Far from the last-click conversion tactic of previous years, new publisher models enable affiliate strategies to be used throughout the customer journey, from research to consideration to conversion and loyalty. What’s telling is how closely advertisers and publishers are now looking to work in partnership, transparently sharing data and developing strategies that meet the commercial objectives of both.

The evidence is that advertisers who have been using affiliate for years have transformed the sophistication of their programs; those new to affiliate marketing are rapidly realising the benefits; and publishers are broadening their propositions to offer a full-funnel approach to finding, attracting and converting customers.

Wherever you are on your affiliate journey as an advertiser, or if you’re a publisher looking for new ways to monetise your platform and deliver value to advertisers, the 5-Stage Blueprint for High-Performance Affiliate Marketing will inspire and inform in equal measure.